The Walking Dead’s latest chapters feel like déjà vu, retreading old territory. You’ve simply seen it before. The Commonwealth as some type of Alexandria and Woodbury hybrid.
Governor Pamela Milton instead of The Governor and Deanna Monroe. It’s solid television but missing the show’s groundbreaking ‘It’ factor and overall magic.
This Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 9 & 10 (“No Other Way”, “New Haunts”) review contains minor spoilers.
Too much prior knowledge of what happened in previous seasons is necessary to feel invested in the Commonwealth for a casual viewer. While for old fans, they will feel like they’re traveling on familiar grounds. You can’t really blame TWD for dipping back into a successful formula season after season: roaming gangs, separated lead characters, old world communities with a hidden dark angle…
But there’s something lost, like a plastic flower in a vase. It doesn’t need water for life so it can never wilt… But it’s also predictable. Comforting yet lacking vivid freshness.
The Commonwealth episode (“New Haunts”) zooms in on Carol snooping around town, her best intentions in mind. Alexandria redux. Meanwhile, Daryl Dixon is trying to fit in (seems like an oddly common theme for a loner character) along with Judith in the community. Sort of like Rick Grimes in Alexandria… Sense a pattern?
Daryl’s best scenes actually come with Governor Milton’s son, where you tangibly feel his silent fury at the power of one’s birthright to a silver spoon. Yet, Daryl infiltrating a group by gaining their trust and betraying them for the better good seems to happen every season. Since Joe and the Claimers anyhow. Meanwhile, Eugene sabotages himself like usual during a date.
For Negan fans, while I can’t reveal his outlook in this review (or the Reapers), don’t expect a major change. There’s three standoff scenes that reveal quite a bit about the type of person Maggie has become. But without revealing anything, the first standoffs do not quite go the extra TWD mile you’d expect from the series. Too much Hollywood-esque hesitation for a show that used to fire at will at established characters without a thought.
Solid action scenes, quality choreography on the part of Brandon Carver (Alex Meraz) in the first new episode (“No Other Way”). But there’s somewhat a lack of overwhelming danger or tension you felt in Season 7’s premiere or The Governor showdown in Season 4.
For the ‘shippers… The likelihood of Donnie went up majorly with these episodes. There was no commitment on Daryl’s part necessarily but it certainly did not look good at all for Caryl. Old habits die hard for Carol as well.
Old World Economic Class Divide on The Walking Dead
The best part of these pair of TWD Season 11B episodes? The “Eat the Rich” angle. Sanctuary and Woodbury certainly acting as preludes to the Commonwealth’s emphasis on old world social status and cash.
The spotlight on Governor Pamela Milton shows a clear class divide between the haves and have nots… With only Lance Hornsby as a type of bridge to the common man & woman. Pamela Milton enjoys lavish socialite parties not even knowing the name of the employees she took an oath to govern. It’s old world rules with constituents relegated to the job they are ‘best suited’ for instead of what they necessarily want.
There’s potential for something fresh here if Magna’s animosity at working as a server while Yumiko lives the high life continues.
Regardless of what you were in the old world, walkers presented a reset to your life. Here we see a return to life as it would have been, and not everyone is happy about it.
Overall, if you’re a serious Walking Dead fan, Season 11B is solid TV. Daryl has really come onto his own as a lead character as of late with Rick Grimes gone.
Brand new casuals though are probably unlikely to climb on board Season 11 without a major guest star or a S7 Negan level meteoric event.
– Be sure to read Robert Patrick: Best thing to happen to Walking Dead in years!
– Check out more coverage of The Walking Dead’s final season in The Walking Dead TV Show section.